By: Rjhay E. Laurea
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte calls on QCitizens to prioritize getting booster shots this new year as a spike in CoViD-19 cases were reported from December 31, 2021 to January 1, 2022.
The Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 2,961 new COVID cases in the Philippines on December 31, 2021, which nearly doubled, or is 82% higher than the cases reported the day before. This recent spike led to a 10.3% positivity rate nationwide. Yesterday, January 1, 2022, the country logged 3,617 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day tally since October 30, 2021.
The QC chief executive met with the Quezon City Government’s Task Force Omicron immediately to discuss the city’s strategies in curbing the spread of the infection.
“The recent rise in cases is disturbing and alarming and I think it is better to be ready and plan ahead than to panic when the cases rise even more in the city. We will reinforce our successful strategies, which helped us survive the onslaught of the Delta surge,” Mayor Belmonte said.
Task Force Omicron will focus on the following areas: Active Case Finding; Quarantine & Isolation; Enforcement of Health Protocols; and Boosters and Vaccination of the Population.
The city government highlights the importance of getting booster shots especially with the impending spread of Omicron.
OCTA Research Fellow Fr. Nick Austriaco, OP, explained that based on the data from other countries, the Omicron variant is less potent than the Delta variant, though it is much more transmissible and infectious. According to data from the United Kingdom that Fr. Austriaco presented to barangay officials and other city government officers, 19% of Omicron cases resulted from household transmission, more than twice the number of household transmission from the Delta variant.
“If one person gets sick in the house, it is twice as easy for Omicron to infect the household,” Fr. Austriaco said. Inevitably, this means that it is likely that entire households in QC will become infected with the Omicron variant.
He likewise shared that booster shots, regardless of the brand, restore antibody levels against Omicron. Very recent data from the United Kingdom revealed that booster shots as a whole protected people by 88% against the Omicron variant as compared to unvaccinated persons. AZ and Pfizer boosters protected people by 93% and 95% against the Delta variant, which is still the predominant variant in the NCR.
Fr. Austriaco stressed that the three major vaccine brands – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna – are all good boosters. Data from the University of Oxford showed that AZ and Pfizer restored neutralizing antibody levels to comparable levels.
The city government has enough supply of AstraZeneca vaccines for boosters after the city immediately procured 1.1 million doses back in 2020.
“We have a lot of vaccine doses which can boost the immunity of our constituents. We urge all QCitizens and the rest of the Filipino population to include booster shots in their list of new year’s resolutions. Our vaccination sites are continuously operating to administer shots for everyone,” Mayor Belmonte said. “We also intend to intensify vaccination this month by adding more sites and teams”, she added.
Individuals who had received their second doses (Moderna, Sinovac, Pfizer, Gamaleya, AstraZeneca) at least three months ago or two months for those who got Janssen may register for booster shots at the QC Vax Easy portal. They are urged to monitor the city’s official Facebook page for updates. (mtvn)